By Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
The MDC will be holding its 5th Congress in the next nine weeks in the same year that this mammoth people’s movement is celebrating 20 years of tenacity and courage against a militarized dictatorship.
For us in the MDC, 2019 is a special year in three respects.
In the month of May this year, we are having our fifth Congress synonymous with the five fingers on our symbol of the open palm. The Congress will be held under the theme: Defining a new course for Zimbabwe.
In the same month of May, we will be trekking in droves to Humanikwa village in Buhera to pay our last respects to the iconic doyen of the people’s struggle, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.
This year again in September, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of this great movement that has used soft power to trammel these grandmasters of hard condign power that remains steeped in this highly militarized State.
In the past 20 years, the MDC has shown that persuasion can triumph over coercion; that it is soft power rather than raw, hard power that underpins our struggle.
The MDC Congress is coming amid blistering attacks on the party and its president, advocate Nelson Chamisa. We remain unshaken by the relentless attacks on the party brand and its young and popular leader.
We take heart in the fact that we are living in the era of the underdog, what one could call the Ajax moment. No one gave Ajax Amsterdam a chance in the UEFA Champions League yet the unfancied Dutch side knocked out current cup holders Real Madrid in right in their home ground in the football citadel called the Santiago Bernabeu.
Indeed, this is the era of the underdog, as Manchester United football club showed by overturning a 2-0 deficit to leave PSG players in tears in a stunning football night in Paris.
The MDC Congress this year has excited all and sundry because it is proving to be a festival of democracy and a theatre of competition. No post is sacred and some party leaders have been heard expressing their wish to be party Presidents in media interviews granted right at the party headquarters at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in Harare.
No harm has befallen such leaders because the MDC is a bastion of democracy; a theatre of open contestation as encapsulated in the culture and character of the party enshrined in Article 4 of the party Constitution.
Even those sponsored by ZANU PF have a right to bring their 30 pieces of silver into the fray. This will enable the MDC Congress delegates to send a loud message back to their sponsors that we utterly reject a surrogate leadership imposed by those who have maimed and killed us in the past 20 years.
A lot of dirty money is flying around but no amount of filthy lucre will sway a determined people. We are aware Zanu PF remains in terrorem of Nelson Chamisa because they know the defeat he inflicted on Emmerson Mnangagwa on July 30, 2018. The Constitutional court may have pronounced Mr. Mnangagwa the winner but legality is not legitimacy, just as the Smith government in Zimbabwe and the apartheid government in South Africa were legal administrations but were not legitimate.
That people are contesting each other in an open way shows that our Congress is a true festival of democracy. Our process underpinned by openness and robust debate has shown that it is not criminal to aspire for higher office and that even the Presidency is not a sacred office.
However, it is important to state that our Congress is not only about positions but about propositions. To this end, the serious business of the MDC Congress will be to look into critical areas that will re-energize this party and firmly place it in good stead to fight this military dictatorship using democratic means.
The MDC Congress is not just about positions but will engage in serious and robust debate on issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe and how those challenges can be stemmed. Internally, the Congress will debate on matters of Constitutional review, leadership review, strategies and tactics, organizational transformation, ideology and policy as well as well as international engagement.
The people’s Congress will look at and adopt key resolutions in the spheres of institutional and organizational renewal to engender a fresh impetus that will carry the people’s struggle forward. Our Congress will be a haven of robust debate that will show that we are indeed a modern, 21st century political party as defined by our deep democratic culture and ethos that is unraveling every day.
Congress will adopt far-reaching resolutions that will scale the people’s struggle to greater heights and adapt the party to the changed geo-political environment.
In short, our Congress is not about positions but will debate and adopt resolutions that will broaden and deepen the frontiers our democratic struggle. We will showcase our dynamism and use this important platform to re-energize the base and to re-awaken the people’s collective aspiration.
In line with the Congress theme, on the 24-26 May, we will be defining a new course for Zimbabwe.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Director of Communications in the MDC. He writes here in his official capacity. You can interact with him on facebook or on his twitter handle @luke_tambo.